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Electron vs wxWidgets: What are the differences?

# Introduction

Electron and wxWidgets are two popular frameworks used for developing desktop applications. While both serve the same purpose, there are key differences that developers should consider before choosing one over the other. 

1. **Programming Language**: Electron is primarily used with web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making it a suitable choice for web developers. On the other hand, wxWidgets can be used with various programming languages like C++, Python, and others, providing more flexibility in language choice for developers.

2. **Platform Support**: Electron is known for providing excellent cross-platform support, allowing developers to build applications that can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux seamlessly. In contrast, wxWidgets also supports multiple platforms but may require additional configurations and adjustments to achieve consistent performance across different operating systems.

3. **Rendering Engine**: Electron uses Chromium as its rendering engine, providing a modern and robust platform for building feature-rich applications. Conversely, wxWidgets utilizes native GUI components of the underlying operating system, offering a more traditional look and feel to the applications developed with it.

4. **Development Environment**: Electron offers a streamlined development environment with tools like Electron Builder for packaging applications efficiently. In comparison, wxWidgets requires configuring different build systems based on the chosen programming language, which can increase development complexity and time.

5. **Community and Documentation**: Electron boasts a large and active community, with extensive documentation and a wide range of third-party resources available to developers. In contrast, while wxWidgets also has a supportive community, it may not have the same level of resources and documentation as Electron due to its more specialized use cases.

6. **Performance**: Electron applications may face some criticism for higher resource consumption due to the underlying Chromium engine. On the other hand, wxWidgets applications are known for their lightweight nature and efficient use of system resources, making them a preferred choice for resource-constrained environments.

In Summary, Electron and wxWidgets differ in programming language support, platform compatibility, rendering engine, development environment, community resources, and performance characteristics, providing developers with a variety of factors to consider when choosing a framework for desktop application development.
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Pros of Electron
Pros of wxWidgets
  • 69
    Easy to make rich cross platform desktop applications
  • 53
    Open source
  • 14
    Great looking apps such as Slack and Visual Studio Code
  • 8
    Because it's cross platform
  • 4
    Use Node.js in the Main Process
  • 5
    Native looking UI
  • 4
    Learning Curve
  • 3
    Cross platform
  • 2
    Permissive license. Commercial with static linkage.
  • 2
    Open source
  • 1
    Pure C++ code
  • 1
  • 1

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Cons of Electron
Cons of wxWidgets
  • 18
    Uses a lot of memory
  • 8
    User experience never as good as a native app
  • 4
    No proper documentation
  • 4
    Does not native
  • 1
    Each app needs to install a new chromium + nodejs
  • 1
    Wrong reference for dom inspection
  • 1
    Uses Qt for GUI (wxQt)

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What is Electron?

With Electron, creating a desktop application for your company or idea is easy. Initially developed for GitHub's Atom editor, Electron has since been used to create applications by companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, and Docker. The Electron framework lets you write cross-platform desktop applications using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is based on io.js and Chromium and is used in the Atom editor.

What is wxWidgets?

It is a C++ library that lets developers create applications for Windows, macOS, Linux and other platforms with a single code base. It has popular language bindings for Python, Perl, Ruby and many other languages, and unlike other cross-platform toolkits, it gives applications a truly native look and feel because it uses the platform's native API rather than emulating the GUI. It's also extensive, free, open-source and mature.

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What companies use Electron?
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What are some alternatives to Electron and wxWidgets?
The fastest way to build beautiful Electron apps using simple HTML and CSS. Underneath it all is Electron. Originally built for GitHub's Atom text editor, Electron is the easiest way to build cross-platform desktop applications.
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